Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder characterized by extreme mood swings. Which range between acute episodes of high anxiety (mania) to as low as severe depression. Formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is marked by wild, cyclical mood swings. (Neenan) Cyclical means occurring in repeating episodes. The book and the article largely disagreed on how many people may be affected by bipolar.

The article state five percent of the population will be affected, while the books says it s only point five to one. six percent of the population. We are all born with lots of brain cells, and as we get older our body trims away some of these cells. This leaves fewer cells with a much stronger connection. The results of this study suggest that perhaps those with bipolar disorder never had an effective trimming. (Neenan) This seems to put people with bipolar at risk for too much going on and not enough regulation.

This study shows that in people who are bipolar the thalamus has thirty one percent more signal sending cells verses someone without. The thalamus not only routes messages to the correct places, but also filters them. It filters by emphasizing some and de-emphasizing others. (Weston) The ventral brain system, another major area of the brain also had increased cells, twenty-eight more in people with bipolar. Theses signal cells release serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These are neurotransmitters that are involved in mood regulation, stress, and activities like concentration and information processing.

Decreased serotonin in the brain is common in severe depression. (Weston) The article seems to disagree even though it didn t show that these increased levels of neurotransmitters cause bipolar, there is some connection. Prozac, a drug commonly used for depression, increases serotonin levels, but now it may be that people with bipolar already have too much serotonin. I fact, bipolar patients given Prozac often head into manic episodes. (Neenan) While this article has no data to back this up it is a true statement. After more research on Prozac and other common drugs used for depression I was surprised how many people have had very severe reactions to Prozac up to and including suicide and / or murder.

This is a good study and more research needs to be done on these drugs and how they actually affect us. This study offers hope though, by treating both neurological illnesses and psychological illnesses as brain illnesses Neenan, Julia McNamee. Too Many Brain Cells Mean Mood Disorder Weston, Drew. Psychology Mind, Brain, & Culture.